Donald Trump has pledged to gut U.S. environmental protocol and bring back the divisive Keystone XL pipeline if elected as president. Green groups are looking to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Environmental groups across the country have reported a record number of volunteer enlistment and donations in response to Trump’s pro-drilling and anti-global warming stance. The surge in interest in these groups may just revive U.S. green advocacy.
Trump has promised to revitalize the coal industry, pull the U.S. out of a global climate agreement, and increase oil drilling.
Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director, said, “We couldn’t have asked for a more powerful motivator than Donald Trump.”
The exec said that an email blast about Trump to the San Francisco-based organization’s associates generated $25,000 in donations. This was more than double the estimated amount. The Sierra Club has also accrued roughly 15,000 new volunteers.
The club’s Political Committee develops projects to involve voters during the election. According to the filings with the Federal Election Commission, the committee has raised over $62,000 this year alone, compared to the $22,000 made at this point during the 2012 election.
The League of Conservation Voters, a group based in Washington, has also seen an upswing. Officials with the group reported that its yearly fundraising dinner raked in a record amount this week, though an exact number was not released. The group also named Trump as a main focus of its donor outreach.
Spokesman David Willett issued the statement, “It’s been a long time since there has been someone that our movement has so universally wanted to stop.”
Meanwhile, the league’s Voters Action Fund has pulled in over $610,000 in donations for election-related work this year. Per federal filings, this is over triple the amount it amassed during the same period of 2012 and more than twice the amount made in 2008.
Trump has hinted that he finds global warming to be a hoax. Just last month, he detailed plans to do away with environmental regulations brought in by the Obama administration, cut the Paris Climate Accord, and renew the Keystone XL. All of these decisions would erase years of gains by the green movement.
A spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign did not immediately reply to a bid for comment.
An environmental advocacy organization out of San Francisco, NextGen Climate, has labeled Trump’s ideas as “frightening.” But its labors were also gaining some traction from Trump’s plans.
The group, founded by billionaire activist Tom Steyer, has highlighted Trump in its television ads to drive voter turnout. It has since reported a 127 percent increase in clicks on its social media that mention Trump compared to the postings that do not feature his name.
NextGen spokeswoman Suzanne Henkels said, “There is no question that voters are very engaged when it comes to fighting back against Trump.”
Associate fundraising director of the Sierra Club’s northwest chapter said he was thrilled about the rise in donor support in 2016, but displeased with the reason behind the increase. “Bad news is good news for fundraising.”
Article written by HEI contributor Briana Steptoe.